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Don’t Throw Away Those Scraps! 5 Tips for Saving Money and Reducing Waste

From trash to treasure.


Food waste: It’s something we’re all guilty of, regardless of our good intentions. When you’re tired and cleaning up after making dinner, it’s hard to look at scraps like potato peels and citrus rinds as anything more than trash or compost. But before you toss them, check out these five easy tips that give your scraps new life. You won’t only be reducing food waste; you’ll also get more use of your fresh produce… and anything that helps our expensive grocery bills go a little further is a gift.

Old onions? Remove rust from knives.

Even when they’re past their prime, onions are fantastic at restoring the gleam to cutlery. That’s because they contain enzymes called allianases, which work to break down rust. Just slice the onion in half, rub the cut side on knives or garden tools, and watch the rust flake away, leaving behind a clean, shiny metal surface.

Coffee grinds? Fertilize your houseplants.

Whether you place a cup of them in your fridge as a deodorizer or use them to scrub stains around the house, coffee grinds are super versatile. And Kelsey Riley of loves using them to feed her houseplants: “Coffee grinds are high in nitrogen, which plants use to build strong roots.” Just let the grinds cool, then sprinkle on the soil.

Citrus peels? Erase dark age spots naturally.

The oil on the outside of citrus peels contains skin-brightening vitamin C and citric acid, which fade discoloration, says Scott-Vincent Borba, aesthetician and author of Skintervention: The Personalized Solution for Healthier, Younger, and Flawless-Looking Skin (Buy from Amazon $21.33). Plus, antioxidants in the rind help prevent new spots from forming. Just rub the orange peel on dark spots for 30 seconds. Let sit 15 minutes; rinse. Repeat regularly to reveal a more youthful complexion.

Overripe bananas? Lift dust in seconds.

You love your houseplants. They add a freshness and vibrance to your space that helps you feel more relaxed. But did you know that the dust that settles on their leaves can keep them from growing healthy and strong? To the rescue: banana peels. Take the inside of the peel and swipe in on your plants’ leaves. Not only will the oils in the peel trap dust, they’ll leave behind a waxy coating that may help leaves repel new dust.

Potato peels? Defog your bathroom mirror easily.

The skins of spuds can help keep your bathroom mirrors from fogging when you take a shower. Simply rub the inside of the peel along the glass. This will leave behind a clear layer of starch that stops moisture from condensing on the surface, preventing fog. Also smart: Use potato skins to ward off fog on car windows.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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